On Saturday, I completed my last double digit run before the Chicago Marathon. My training schedule had me running 12 miles. Instead, I headed down to Chicago with my mom and two of her friends to participate in the Chicago Women Rock 1/2 marathon, making it my 7th half marathon.
We rented an apartment via AirBnB. It was a cute little apartment in the heart of Boystown, a few blocks away from my first Chicago apartment. I preferred it over a hotel-having all the extra space was nice, but the parking was just as much of a hassle as I remember it being. We had to find street parking because only parking passes were included with this particular apartment.
After we got settled in, we headed down to Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum where the expo was being held. The expo was small and it was held outdoors, something I’ve never experienced before. Thankfully the weather was perfect!
They also had shirtless men there to take pictures with. These were the same guys that handed out the finisher necklaces after each runner crossed the finish line.
After packet pick up, we headed back to Boystown and ate at Caesars, a Mexican restaurant that is known for the their killer margaritas. Since I don’t do hard alcohol the night before a long run, I had to miss out but I settled for a beer instead to go along with my chicken fajitas. The food was just as good as I remember it being. After dinner, we walked back to our apartment and laid out our stuff for the next morning.
Shoes: Saucony Guide 7 (what I will be wearing for The Chicago Marathon). Socks: CEP Compression. Tank top and running skirt from Lululemon, flip belt, and visor. Up until this weekend, I was all set to run in a pair of black lululemon shorts that I’ve been training in. They’re comfy, I love them and have had zero problems with them moving until I added my flip belt. After running this half on Saturday and having my flip belt work perfectly with the skirt, I’ll be rocking the running skirt for the marathon. I almost forgot I was even wearing the belt. Didn’t have to fuss with it once!
The next morning we woke up bright and early and I headed to Dunkin Donuts before I was even out of my pajamas 🙂 It was about 5am and people were still hanging out in the street…one of the reasons I love Chicago. I came back, we got ready and took a cab down to the start of the race. Except we had planned all along to take the bus but decided last minute we would take a cab. Forgetting about how much quicker a cab would be, we got down to the race about an hour earlier than we had to. Oops! But it gave us some time to walk along my favorite part of the park and show my mom and her friends this spectacular view:
Good morning Chicago!!!
At about 7:30 we started lining up to start the race. The Half marathoners and 10Kers started at 7:45, while the people running the 5k started at 8am.
I had no expectations for this race. The day was a little warmer & sunnier than I would have liked for the end of September and I’m in taper mode so I had no plans to set any PRs…which was really hard for me to do mentally. I don’t think I’ve ever gone into a race and not had a goal to do better than my last.
My official time was 2:10:33. Not my fastest time but not my worst either. I’ll take it. Overall, the race was very fun. Would I run this one again? I can honestly say that I’m not sure. Here are some Pros & Cons that I ran into with this race.
-Location! One of the best views of the city lakefront
-Women only race. I don’t discriminate against the guys, but women only races can be very inspirational.
-They offer up a cool necklace in leu of a medal and an awesome tech jacket I’ll be sporting this fall.
-Super congested. They started everyone at once. There was no staggering and it didn’t clear up until over a mile only to run into congestion throughout the course.
-The location. Did I mention how much I love this running path? 🙂 Awesome for single one on one runs. Not conducive for holding a race.
-Water stations. I remember seeing two. And no aid stations. Luckily the path is filled with drinking fountains.
-You had to pay extra for the medal. That’s just me being cheap. I get that we got a necklace at the finish line, but I really like my medals. They should give runners the option to get one or the other at the finish line and then give you the option to buy the additional bling.
My favorite part of the Women Rock Chicago 1/2 marathons would have to be the cool signage:
Overall, I had a great experience and a fun time with my mom and her friends, as always. One of the women I was with is actually running the Chicago Marathon too, so I had fun pointing out to her what streets we would be running down.
Less than 2 weeks away from Chicago Marathon #2!!! The tapering is killing me this time around! I thought I’d enjoy a little scale back, but I’m not.
Question for you: Have you ever ran an unorganized race? What tips/suggestions can you give for tapering?